Clear, Concise and Correct Proposals

Customers assume a proposal represents your best effort. If they find errors, they may doubt the accuracy of the rest of the proposal.

Proposals go through several iterations and reviews before final submission to the customer. Each iteration ensures your document is clear, concise, and correct. Don’t underestimate the editing process. Build time into your schedule to ensure all reviews can be performed, that proofreading and revising are given enough space to be thorough.


Make sure your message is clear, bold, and obvious. Tackle the major issues of organization, customer focus, and strategy first.

When reviewing for clarity, attempt to be so clear in what you write that you cannot possibly be misunderstood. Clarity is aided by using repletion without being redundant. Refer to the same ideas with consistent terminology.


In an effort to make sure every minute detail is addressed, most business development writing becomes too long. But this doesn’t always lend itself to a better or well-written proposal.

A concise proposal allows you to directly focus on what you will do or provide for the customer. Get to the point and do it quickly.


Again, customers interpret your proposal as your best effort to win the business. Don’t lose the deal because of spelling and grammar issues. While these things may not seem as important as messaging and strategy, they show the customer you care about providing a service or product that is accurate in all the details, big or small.

A large portion of the editing, revising, and proofreading is done using technology and electronic tools. However, a careful review of the actual hard copy of the proposal provides a different view of the document and can often reveal unseen errors or omissions.

Electronic tools are valuable. But don’t underestimate the human touch when it comes to being clear, concise, and correct.

Follow these guidelines when revising your important documents:

• Review the proposal for clarity and accuracy.
• Edit the proposal for conciseness at the section, paragraph, and sentence levels.
• Revise the proposal for customer focus, compliance, and messaging.
• Limit the number of editors or reviewers to a reasonable number.
• Use team members who are less familiar with the proposal message to provide unbiased feedback.
• Leave adequate time to make necessary adjustments.
• Leverage technology, including spell check, grammar check, and readability tools.

Create proposals that win by being clear, concise, and correct. Schedule time to ensure your sales documents receive the editing, proofreading, and revising they need to show the customer your best effort.